When it came to Player of the Year, it apparently was no major, no problem for Tiger Woods. The world No. 1 was named the PGA Tour Player of the Year for the 11th time on Friday, beating out Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar. The Tour discloses neither the final vote totals for the Jack Nicklaus Award nor how many eligible players voted.
A five-time winner this season, Woods captured two World Golf Championships (Doral, Firestone) and The Players, and finished second in the season-long FedEx Cup. No other player had more than two PGA Tour titles. Last week Woods was named the PGA of America’s Player of the Year, finishing 36 points ahead of Scott. Woods (68.98) also earned the Vardon Trophy, given annually to the player with the lowest adjusted scoring average in 60 required rounds. (Steve Stricker did not qualify.) He also claimed the Arnold Palmer Award as the Tour’s leading money winner, with $8,553,439.
Even as Woods padded his career victory total – he’s up to 79 PGA Tour wins, just three shy of Sam Snead’s all-time record – he was criticized for falling short in the majors for the fifth consecutive calendar year. Woods is now the fourth player in the last five years to be named Player of the Year without winning a major. In the end, however, his fellow PGA Tour members deemed his overall body of work more impressive than any of the other nominees, including Mickelson or Scott, both of whom won twice (including a major) in 2013, and Stenson, the FedEx Cup winner.
There was far less debate for Rookie of the Year. That award went to 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, who authored one of the most remarkable freshman campaigns in the past two decades. The former Texas star’s résumé included a victory at the John Deere Classic, eight other top 10s (three runners-up) and nearly $4 million in earnings. What’s more, Spieth became the first player since Woods (1996) to begin the season with no status on any tour and advance all the way to the Tour Championship. Spieth tied for second at East Lake, and next week he will represent the United States at the Presidents Cup.
The other nominees for the award were Sony winner Russell Henley, Quail Hollow champion Derek Ernst and Swede David Lingmerth, who lost in a playoff at the Humana Challenge and tied for second at The Players.
- Ryan Lavner, The Golf Channel